Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Steve Tonge
Cycling Correspondent
10:06 AM 21st July 2020

A Dash To The Coast

Day 3: Monday June 15 - Morecambe & Lancaster

After the tough day yesterday, I gave myself a lie in! Today’s ride direction was chosen because of the weather forecast of heavy rain forecast… I set of just before 8am and headed north: destination – Morecambe.
Liverpool Skyline from Birkenhead
Liverpool Skyline from Birkenhead

I chose to avoid the A6 as much as possible and used the quieter roads and part of the excellent Guild Wheel (a 21-mile walking & cycling route) around Preston. Heading over the M55 at Higher Bartle the cycling was very enjoyable on quiet lanes towards St Michaels on Wyre. A very brief spell on the A6 to get to Garstang where I had short pit stop for my favourite – a latte, of course!

Then I took to roads I don’t often frequent on the bike. Cockerham to Glasson Dock was superb with blue skies, glimpses of the Furness Peninsula and at that point, to me, the world felt great! I rode the 5 miles from Glasson to Lancaster along the Lune Estuary, and whilst the surface is more track than tarmac for a short while, I was most impressed with a totally traffic-free brilliant cycle path ride all the way to Morecambe itself.

Glasson Dock
Glasson Dock
I used the wonderful promenade to get myself along the seafront which is a delight being so wide. On past Happy Mount Park where I picked up the Lancaster Canal Towpath, it was great to be riding off-road. I’ve used parts of this towpath on two wheels whilst on holiday, but never ventured as far as the Lune Viaduct, which is a magnificent structure. I returned to the Lune Cycleway via a short downhill stretch of the A6 as the path by the river was temporarily closed, and I retraced my way along the bike path a short distance leaving via the pretty village of Aldcliffe. Again, quiet lanes via Lower Burrow to Galgate where I had another pit stop. From here I used the A6 all the way down to Churchtown before turning right and heading through St Michaels to Poulton Le-Fylde.

My destination was Blackpool North Railway Station, for the 3.27pm train back to Bolton. Good planning on my part, or perhaps just good luck, as the skies around Preston had turned distinctly inclement and I had received several messages bemoaning the weather back home. A short 4-mile ride from the station on very wet roads (luckily it had by now stopped raining) to add to the 100 miles I had already covered. At the end of Day 3 I was feeling elated: I’d avoided the bad weather; I was feeling good and looking forward to Day 4!

Day 4: Tuesday 16 June - Wonderful Wirral

I was really looking forward to this one... I spent many “Sunday Day Trips” as a child visiting New Brighton, Hoylake & West Kirby, often travelling via the Mersey Tunnel. Today I would not be going there via the tunnel, instead I rode through Warrington, Daresbury and Frodsham.

Unfortunately, the roads I chose were rather busy which I didn’t enjoy one bit! It seemed to take forever to get to the infamous Cammell Laird Shipyard at Birkenhead where I knew I would then enjoy traffic-free riding for a few hours. Once on the Mersey Estuary path I was captivated with the vista of Liverpool across the river and the ships, ferries and other craft on the vast estuary. I had an extended breakfast stop (takeaway) at The Seaside Cafe on the front at New Brighton. It was great watching the paddle boarders and open water swimmers all doing “their thing.”

Wirral Way at West Kirby
Wirral Way at West Kirby
I miss the usual experience of a real cafe stop: you soon get cold when you stop and have to sit outdoors. But I could have lingered at New Brighton for hours as there was a great view of the busy Mersey Estuary, where there were quite a few people out and about. After breakfast I continued along the coastal path past Leasowe Golf Club to Hoylake. A brief spell back on the roads before I picked up the fantastic Wirral Way (a former railway line) that runs almost the entire length of the quiet and picturesque southern coastline of the Wirral along the Dee Estuary.

Harry Potter comes to Warrington
Harry Potter comes to Warrington
Twelve miles later I found myself in Neston where my off-road riding ended and I made my way back to a rendezvous with my wife at Lymm Services just off the M6. I was back on the same roads through Frodsham, then up much quieter roads via Preston on the Hill and Stretton, passing a sign I pass regularly and always love to see “Queastybirch Lane” - very Harry Potter!

About a mile from the meeting point the rain started to fall, and luckily, I got the bike on the roof bars just as the monsoonal rain began! Another 103 miles covered today - Was it only Tuesday?